Want To Change Your Experiences? Shift Your Expectations

Monday, October 8, 2012

When you wake up in the morning, what thoughts pop into your head?  Chances are they have something to do with what you have to do in the coming hours: the work tasks, meetings, projects, and conversations that must be accomplished.  What tone do these thoughts have?  Are they positive and about things you are looking forward to? Or are they negative?   I coach many leaders who deal with a lot of stress in their positions.  Often times their expectations of what they have to do or things that are “on the horizon” are less than positive.  They start their days anticipating the “tough meeting”, “difficult conversation”, or the “constant interruptions”, which will impact their ability to get things accomplished.  And, this is typically what they experience: tough meetings, difficult conversations and not enough time.   Many of their expectations are habitual.  They wake with these thoughts because this is what they have experienced countless times before.    And, this is when I challenge them to try shifting their expectations.

What if they woke up and anticipated a day filled with productive meetings and valuable conversations?  Seem too unrealistic?  Yes, I’ve heard that before so if this seems like a hard place to start, how about starting the day remembering two things you enjoy about your job? Instead of focusing on all the things that will be difficult about your day, think about the things you get to do that you enjoy.  Think about all the potential learning opportunities you have in a given day and focus on the good that comes out of that learning.  Practice these thoughts at the start of your day, before your mind can tune into the negative habitual thoughts.  By doing this on a regular basis, I promise you will begin to shift your focus, and eventually your expectations about what you will experience during the day.   Give it a shot and see what happens – expect the best and you just might be surprised at the outcome.

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